When traveling to Rome this year, we decided that we would spend a day visiting either the Colosseum or Castel St ‘Angelo (instead of both). We ended up visiting Castel St ‘Angelo on the first Sunday of the month (when it is free to enter) and absolutely loved it. I never paid much attention during history lessons at school – well I never paid much attention at school in general – but I really wish I’d focused a little more when it came to History. Wandering around this incredibly well preserved castle was magical – it was easy to transport your thoughts back to 139 AD. The popes converted the structure into a castle, beginning in the 14th century. Throughout the middle ages, the castle was a refuge for the popes in times of danger. There’s a corridor that connects to the Vatican (Passetto) so that when under attack, the pope could safely make way to the castle to hide.
The castle is huge and once inside you can really picture what it must have been like to be alive all those years ago. We were a little unsure as to how interesting it would be for Daisy, but she ended up loving it just as much as we did. Wandering the long corridors and meandering around the many beautifully decorated rooms. We managed to catch sight of a torture chamber and a prison which was interesting! After stopping for a cake and coffee at the little restaurant with amazing views, we made our way up towards the top of the castle to check out the views. It’s not the highest view point in Rome, but my goodness is it a good one. You can see the river Tiber and all it’s surroundings beautifully! It was a complete sun trap so we didn’t stay long at the top, but it was long enough to get a good glimpse of the city from above.
My top tips for visiting Castel St ‘Angelo: The best time to visit Castel St ‘Angelo is in the evening when the queues have calmed down a little – if you time it well then you’ll get a beautiful view of the sun setting as you get to the top of the castle. We visited during the first Sunday of the month when it’s free and although this helped us save money and keep our budget to minimum, I would recommend paying and going a different day as the queue was a little ridiculous! If you are visiting with children then take some time out to wander the surrounding area around the castle – there’s a lovely little park and grass area with beautiful views of the castle.